CAIRO — Rights activists and protesters paraded through Cairo's streets Friday bearing the coffin of a young man they said had been tortured to death in a maximum security prison, calling his treatment evidence that abuses are continuing at the hands of security forces more than nine months after Egypt's revolution.
Essam Atta, 23, was killed Thursday after he was caught with a cell phone, relatives said. They said one of his cell mates had told them guards inserted hoses into Atta's mouth and anus and forced in water and soap, causing vomiting and bleeding.
Protesters likened the alleged incident to the abuses, including corruption and the widespread use of torture, that pushed Egyptians to revolt last winter against President Hosni Mubarak.
Comparisons were drawn between Atta and Khaled Said, 28, who was beaten to death by police in Alexandria last year. Pictures of his bloodied body were posted online and became a driving force behind the uprising. Now a picture of Atta's corpse is circulating on social networking sites, and activists are calling for an investigation.
Aida Saif al-Dawla of the El-Nadim Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence declared Atta "the second Khaled Said" after seeing his bloodied body at the Cairo morgue. She said she worried that a proper autopsy would not be carried out and that authorities would try to cover up the causes of Atta's death, as they did with Said's.
Atta was arrested in February, convicted of "thuggery" and sentenced to two years in prison by a military court. He had been charged with drug dealing in 2004 and carrying an unlicensed weapon in 2010, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Friday.
The statement attributed Atta's death to "unknown poisoning" and said prison guards tried to save him.
Activists have been campaigning to stop the hasty military proceedings in which Atta and more than 10,000 others have been arrested and convicted since the ouster of Mubarak in February.